by Jason Wright / Appen Newspapers
October 28, 2008 MILTON - Crabapple land owner Sally Rich-Kolb is planning on expanding her businesses on Mid-Broadwell Road in March, but she'd got a big problem.Before she can move one speck of dirt, Rich-Kolb has got to give some right-of-way to the city so it can build a connector street from Broadwell to Mid-Broadwell roads called for in the 2005 Crabapple Master Plan. The road will connect to a future street from Mayfield to Mid-Broadwell Road for which the city has GDOT approval.Rich-Kolb verbally agreed to the land swap when the 2005 plan was being crafted, and said if she ever wanted to expand to the 12,800 square feet of retail allowed for her property she'd dedicate the land.Rich-Kolb is not alone.
Two other neighbors in the area agreed to the swap, too, to help ease congestion in the area.But here's the problem: As it stands now, the required right-of-way would be about 50 feet. That significantly changes her building plans and is more than she expected to give up. What's more, due to the complexities of building roads in an area with a state highway and this year's economy, no one is even sure that the road will actually need to be built or that funding will be OK'd.So Rich-Kolb could be faced with a situation where she builds using a more expensive plan, then gets the land back."The cost is the main issue. It makes more sense to me to have the road first," she said. "You don't know if you have the money and you don't know if it's placed right," she said.
Milton's City Council agreed. They voted 6-0 to defer the decision on the zoning modification needed for Rich-Kolb to build at the Oct. 20 meeting. Mayor Joe Lockwood abstained, as his wife rents property from Rich-Kolb in Crabapple.
Former Design Review Board Chairman Buck Bell, who has been heavily involved in Crabapple's planning, spoke partly on Rich-Kolb's behalf. He said what originally was a planned split between three landowners now appears to be rest solely on her shoulders."I think Sally's got kind of a mess that's been handed to her," said Bell. "This is a loophole I don't think she meant to step into. The plan was to build the road in conjunction with her construction — there would be nothing worse than to develop, donate, then get back land you can't use."
Public Works Director Dan Drake said the road was fully consistent with the Master Plan. However, he said other road plans in the area that are state funded and OK'd have impacted it. As such, research was needed."It sounds like the road alignment shifted and now has impacted the community," said Councilman Bill Lusk.Councilwoman Karen Thurman agreed."In the ideal situation we would know whether we needed the road and where it would go," she said. "But I hate putting her on hold for a year."Rich-Kolb agreed to a deferral of about 90 days."This may benefit you more greatly if you allow us to take a look at it," said Mayor Pro Tem Tina D'Aversa, who presided over the meeting.